Reflections on 7 years

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On November 7th, we celebrated seven years since Authentic Beauty Makeup Salon & Hair Studio first opened its doors at 4674 Roswell Rd in Atlanta.
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I feel that I need to commemorate this anniversary maybe because it’s lucky number 7 or having survived in business for seven years too. What a lot of people don’t know is about the blood, sweat and tears that happened on the way to building what we now know as Authentic Beauty. As I look back on the series of events that have gotten us to where we are now, I feel nothing but gratitude and wonder as to how this all unfolded to our current reality.
Authentic Beauty, the concept, had lived in my head for over 20 years. As an educator for Aveda
traveling the Southeast assisting salons with their makeup business, I could not understand why we did not have makeup salons and a professional environment for women to learn how to do their makeup.
I have witnessed most women having issues applying their makeup. They buy makeup regularly but have no idea how to achieve the look they are going for. Over and over, I have heard and still hear the statement, ‘I have no idea how to apply this.’  Or, ‘give us a break, we never took a class in school for it. It’s not something we learned in Girl Scouts!’
The question of a makeup salon burned inside of me until two events happened:
1. I took a personal development class that had me look at my life in such a way that I had a lot
more to contribute than working one person at a time in a basement studio (that was really a
closet) one person at a time. This also followed an insight that business is a learnable skill and that if I had the courage to jump in, people would help me. Courage is a HUGE lesson as much as trusting your ability to be a good learner.
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2. I had a beautiful client in my chair who was probably my age now. We had an amazing session
together. She looked absolutely beautiful when we were done. And when we were done, she
looked in the mirror and burst into tears. All she saw were her wrinkles and the impending aging
process showing up on her face. That made me so angry that our society placed such unfair standards on a woman’s image and such an emphasis on appearing flawless that I found the words Authentic Beautyfallingout of my mouth.
I had the name. Then, it took me 20 years to articulate what it is that I do and what it is that I wanted to perpetuate in this world. Authentic Beauty has so many meanings but mostly it is about knowing your Authentic Self and that who you are is a profound human being and learning to express your image as a reflection of that is a learnable skill.
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I was truly blessed to read a book (and later became a certified workshop leader) by author Sarah Ban
Breathnach called Something More. And in the pages of that book, she asks the reader to begin to commune with their authentic self. So many of us are so busy with our lives that we forget to check in with ourselves and we just keep doing what we have always been doing. That’s how we can wake up 10 years down the road and go, ‘What Happened?’
We have to keep checking in with our innermost sacred self to make sure we are on the right path for us. And THEN when we are clear about that, the next question to ask is, ‘So, what does my Authentic Self Look Like in Her Authentic Life?’  That is a WAY better question then, ‘what color lipstick is right for me?’
This is what the Image Journey is and this is what had Mary Mountford, a client I did an Image Journey on (before we called it the Image Journey), take me to lunch and insist I start my company because this service is what women want.
So, somewhere in late 2006, I sat down with a business coach, Means Davis, who put empty white boards in front of me and handed me a marker. I filled all 3 whiteboards with my vision for Authentic Beauty. When I got done he asked, ‘do you want it?’ After I said yes, the next day I was sent a spreadsheet with a list of things to do with dates to get those things done next to them. Every day, we went through that list until pretty soon I had a company, a vision and the form was starting to take shape.
I cannot believe how scary it was, but I also just kept taking steps. Even in the face of the economy tanking, my original business location not working out, legal issues looming, obstacles galore and more stuff then you can imagine to get done, yet we moved forward. And here we are here.
What’s important is that Authentic Beauty exists because of you, because of your loyalty and your belief in what we are about.
There isn’t a day that goes by that I am not focused on the gratitude of your support. We started this business with 350 clients and today we have over 2500. We have helped countless numbers of women and girls learn how to not only apply their makeup but also learn to love what they see when they look in the mirror. For years, we have been known as the place to get your brows done in Atlanta and enjoyed the title ‘best of brows’ in Atlanta for years. And we have been awarded so many titles throughout the years. I don’t take one of those for granted.
I am so clear that it is a privilege to get to do makeup for a living that I pinch myself every day.
I had lots of coaches and lots of mentors and I still do. I have had amazing artists and staff come in and out giving me insight and opportunities to learn. I cannot name all of you individually but just know that we exist because of you and I thank you. Authentic Beauty thanks you because I get to try to figure out how to make the beauty industry a better place. This is our mission/vision statement and if you haven’t seen our About Us Video I invite you to watch it and share it with your friends.
I am proud of where we are even though I am not nearly where I want to be! I look forward to seeing
where we are in another 7 years.
All My Best,
Alyson

7 Year Achievements/Highlights from Authentic Beauty: 

  • Authentic Beauty launches its very own, safe and non-toxic makeup line, The Magic 3 in 1 Foundation ( a luminous, lightweight, fresh foundation that acts as a concealer, camouflage, and a foundation in one.)
  • Voted Best of Brows 4 years in a row by Allure Magazine. Voted Best of Brows by Best Self Magazine Atlanta in 2014 and 2015.
  • Launches their very own custom blended lipstick and lip gloss station made onsite at the studio
  • Authentic Beauty creates a custom blended lipstick called Eve made onsite for Eve Ensler, an American playwright and activist, best known for her play The Vagina Monologues
  • Went from 1 makeup artist and 300 clients in 2008 to 13 artists and 2000+ clients in 2015
  • Was featured in the following publications: Jezebel Magazine, Best Self Magazine, Simply Buckhead, Eide Magazine, Points North Magazine, The Piedmont Review, The Sunday Paper, Northside Neighbor, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Atlanta Weddings, The Atlantan, Atlantan Bride, Skirt,  Little Black Dress, Atlanta Woman’s Magazine, Business to Business Magazine, Southern Seasons Magazine, and featured on Fox, CBS, Q100,  & Star 94 and The Big Fake Wedding.

Check out this slideshow with pictures from our  7th anniversary party at the studio. Thank you for joining us at Authentic Beauty Makeup Salon & Hair Studio.
beauty with a clean conscience

Authentic Beauty, located at 4674 Roswell Rd. Atlanta, GA 30342, is a full service makeup salon and hair studio in Atlanta offering award winning service with professional makeup applications, makeup lessons, brows, hair, organic facials, organic spray tanning, eyelash extensions,  wedding makeup services, manis and pedis, massage and more.

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